ESL Sites and Services

The English as a Second Language (ESL) program in Newport News Public Schools involves instruction for English Language Learners (ELLs) pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

The First Step ESL program is at all four sites, with three ESL teachers servicing all ESL preschool students. The ESL students spend the majority of their day with the preschool teacher. ESL teachers pull small groups of students as well as provide language support in the classroom by collaborating with the preschool teachers.

The elementary school ESL program is at all 25 elementary schools. Intensive students in grades 2-5 may receive ESL services at the Newcomer Center located at Saunders Elementary. At the Newcomer Center, the ESL teacher is also the student's homeroom teacher. Once a student reaches a predetermined level of English language proficiency, he/ she returns to the zoned school for ESL services. An ESL student can stay in the Newcomer Center for up to a year. All other ESL students are services at their school site. ESL teachers travel to students to provide language support. Students are serviced by an ESL teacher and assigned a homeroom with a general education teacher. Students receive language acquisition support based on their English language proficiency level. Students with lower levels of English receive more intensive language instruction. The more advanced students stay in the general education classroom the majority of the day with the ESL teacher providing assistance as needed. Testing and placement of English language proficiency determines how often and for how long each student receives services by the ESL teacher. Download Elementary ESL Schedule of Equitable Services for Students.

Middle school students receive ESL program services at two designated sites, Dozier and Gildersleeve. Students attend the site closest to their home address. Middle school students have ESL as a part of their schedule of classes. ESL classes are scheduled by English proficiency level. The students who are designated as "Level I Entering" or "Level 2 Emerging" receive at least 90 minutes of ESL services daily. This service may be in a pullout type of setting or in collaboration with an English teacher. "Level 3 Developing" students receive either 90 minutes of ESL instruction daily or 45 minutes of ESL instruction every other day based on their linguistic needs. Students who are considered "Level 4 Expanding" – "Level 5 Bridging" spend the majority of their day in core content classes while receiving ESL instruction 45 minutes every other day.

The high school ESL program is at two sites, Denbigh and Warwick. Students attend the school closest to their home address. High school ESL students are placed according to their English ability. The "Level I Entering" and "Level 2 Emerging" students have class with their ESL teacher for three blocks and may receive English credit for ESL I and ESL II. The "Level 3 Developing" students have two blocks of ESL support and "Level 4 Expanding" – "Level 5 Bridging" students have 1 block with their ESL teacher every other day.

English Language Learners (ELL's) receiving Talented and Gifted services (TAG) or Special Education services are also eligible to receive ESL program services based on their registration and assessment data.

VDOE English Language Proficiency Standards

The VDOE English Language Proficiency Standards of Learning support the English language development of Limited English Proficient (LEP) students. According to the Virginia Department of Education:

The goal of these standards is to provide the foundation that will enable LEP students to be successful in the English Standards of Learning, (SOL's), and to succeed in other content areas. This foundation is essential because LEP students are learning English as another language. The goal for the education of Limited English Proficient (LEP) students is to provide intensive instruction so that LEP students can develop English proficiency as quickly as possible in order to reach full educational parity with their peers in all academic subjects. Proficient use of the English language enables students to explore and articulate the complex issues and ideas encountered in public and personal life. Students acquire the ability to make full and effective use of the written language in their future educational, occupational, and personal endeavors. Through this program, non-English speaking students acquire the English skills necessary for communication and academic study. All students who are designated as Limited English Proficient (LEP) are eligible to receive services from an ESL teacher.

An LEP student in the Commonwealth of Virginia is classified according to the federal government definition as described in Public Law 107-110, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

  • Definition of Limited English Proficient (LEP) Students

  • Definition of Immigrant Student: Eligible "immigrant children and youth" include those individuals who are aged 3 through 21, who were not born in the United States and who have not been attending one or more schools in any one or more states for more than three full academic years. Report the total of immigrant students in the division.

ESL students enroll in our schools with a wide range of academic and first language skills. Some students come with delayed or interrupted schooling; others come from schools where academic instruction has been minimal; still others come with well-developed academics in their first language, but little to no knowledge of English. The goal of the program is to provide a nurturing classroom environment that develops high levels of English proficiency in the areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing while mastering the content area standards of learning.

All LEP students are assessed in order to measure their proficiency in English. Students new to Newport News Public Schools take a placement test when they register at the ESL Welcome Center. As a result of this placement test, students are designated as "Level 1 Entering", "Level 2 Emerging", "Level 3 Developing", "Level 4 Expanding", or "Level 5 Bridging" based upon the designation criteria of the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) Standards adopted in 2008 as the English Language Proficiency Standards of Virginia.

All ESL students also participate in an annual English proficiency assessment (ACCESS for ELLs) mandated by No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Students who test proficient after being in the ESL program are designated "Level 6 Reaching 1" (Monitor Year 1) or "Level 6 Reaching 2" (Monitor Year 2) for two consecutive years. These designations mean that the students are considered to be "Formerly Limited English Proficient" (FLEP) and have officially completed the ESL program. The students are not serviced by an ESL teacher during this time and are not eligible for ESL testing accommodations. However, these students are monitored by a designee at each site and may be re-enrolled into formal ESL services through the child study process.